As JIF closes, tourism minister appeals for investments in shopping

Observer staff reporter

Friday, June 15, 2018

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Insisting that the shopping experience in Jamaica is woefully lacking, Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett is wooing international investors into the destination to take the plunge in that arena.

“...The next area of investment is about shopping. Sixty-seven per cent of the world travels just for shopping. Jamaica's shopping is abysmal. I say that upfront. We need investments in shopping!” he stressed. “We need to build big big powerful malls that brings high end brands into the destination. So we looking investments in those areas.”

In the meantime, Bartlett disclosed that at the moment discussions between the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Tourism are ongoing “as to how we can reconfigure the scheduling of dutiable goods to allow for a wider variety of goods, particularly leather and textile to enter into our shopping experience”.

He was speaking on the closing day of the Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO) staging of Jamaica Investment Forum (JIF) 2018, held under the theme 'Connect for Business', at the Montego Bay Convention Centre yesterday.

The tourism minister also enticed local and international investors on hand to take the plunge into the area of gastronomy.

“Eighty-eight per cent of the world travels for food, so gastronomy. So we need investment, we need investment in food experiences — top restaurants, Michelin-rated category restaurants. But we also want investments in street foods.

“It's about how the Jamaican cuisine can be so presented that it remains delectable and appealing. And there is no cuisine that has the variety that Jamaica has. There is absolutely none! So we want investment in not only our food applications, but food preparation and in education and training in gastronomy for sous chefs, and also to improve the ability for connectivity for the providers of these services and the visitors anywhere in the world they are,” Bartlett argued.

Other areas of investment he marketed reggae music and health and wellness tourism.

“So health and wellness for us is a huge area, and we are working through the policies on that and we are excited about cannabis-infused experiences that are going to drive a new appreciation of health and wellness, particularly in terms of the nutraceutical side as well as alternative medical applications,” Bartlett argued.

Since its inception in 2012, the tri-annual JIF has so far pulled in some US$300 million in investment.

JIF 2018, which kick-started Tuesday night at the Iberostar Hotel in St James, came to a climax at the Montego Bay Convention Centre after two days of robust discussions at the facility.

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